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Taking on MaltonHistory.info!

We are delighted to be 'inheriting' the information from the MaltonHistory website. It now has a secure home under the Malton & Norton Heritage Centre umbrella where it can continue to grow. This, and more can be seen under the 'Research' menu item. It is expected that the MaltonHistory website will be retired at the end of 2020. (15th November 2020)

Object of the Month

Each month one object or subject from the Woodhams Stone Collection is featured on this page. The objects are chosen by one of our volunteers, trustees or visitors and are accompanied by research about the use and historical context of the object. We are also interested in what factors made them choose it!

Comments including additional information on any of these objects are very welcome - please use our contact details at the bottom of this page.

Object of the Month - November
Holloway's Ointment Pot

This little object – less than four centimetres tall – is an ointment pot which once contained the world famous Holloway’s Ointment. The transfer print on the pot depicts Hygieia, the Greek goddess of hygiene and cleanliness, seated with her brother Telesphoros, the god of convalescence. He carries a sign which says “Never Despair”. On her other side is the single snake from the staff belonging to her father, Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. Holloway’s initials TM are embossed in the bottom of the inside of the pot.

Holloway’s ointment made enormous claims. Our little pot claims to cure gout and rheumatism, inveterate ulcers, sore breasts, sore heads and bad legs. However, this is quite modest as in advertisements Holloway’s ointment and pills also claimed to cure burns, cancers, fistulas, glandular swellings, lumbago, piles, sore throats, scurvy, tumours, cuts and wounds as well as chest problems, skin diseases, snake bite, depression, children’s ailments, “youthful indulgences” and “all the maladies to which females are liable”. Analysis of the ointment seems to indicate that the ingredients were unlikely to actively cure anything, but they caused no harm – unlike some other popular quack medicines of the time. Find out more

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Object of the Month - November 2020

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Object of the Month Holloway's Ointment Pot
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This little object – less than four centimetres tall – is an ointment pot which once contained the world famous Holloway’s Ointment. The transfer print on the pot depicts Hygieia, the Greek goddess of hygiene and cleanliness, seated with her brother Telesphoros, the god of convalescence. He carries a sign which says “Never Despair”. On her other side is the single snake from the staff belonging to her father, Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. Holloway’s initials TM are embossed in the bottom of the inside of the pot.

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Thomas Holloway was born in Devonport, Devon in 1800. He began selling his ointment in 1837 – the first batches being made, so it is said, in his mother’s kitchen. It is reported that he sent his brother to pharmacies to ask for Holloway’s Ointment and then followed him after having proved the demand! He placed his first advert in three Sunday newspapers in the same year he started the business. Unfortunately, he spent too much on advertising and in 1839 he ended up in Whitecross Debtors' prison. However, he repaid his debts and never got into debt again. He established his business first at the Broad Street Buildings in London, later moving to the Strand and then, at the end of the 1860s, to 533 Oxford Street - where our pot came from.

Holloway’s ointment made enormous claims. Our little pot claims to cure gout and rheumatism, inveterate ulcers, sore breasts, sore heads and bad legs. However, this is quite modest as in advertisements Holloway’s ointment and pills also claimed to cure burns, cancers, fistulas, glandular swellings, lumbago, piles, sore throats, scurvy, tumours, cuts and wounds as well as chest problems, skin diseases, snake bite, depression, children’s ailments, “youthful indulgences” and “all the maladies to which females are liable”. Analysis of the ointment seems to indicate that the ingredients were unlikely to actively cure anything, but they caused no harm – unlike some other popular quack medicines of the time.

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By 1845 Thomas was spending £10,000 a year on advertising. This grew to an incredible £50,000 a year by the time of his death in 1883. He advertised in newspapers, on trade cards, envelopes, drawing books, stamps and metal tokens. His adverts were known all over the world. He even put up advertising hoardings on the Great Pyramid and at Niagara Falls. He became a multi-millionaire and one of the richest men in England.

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He married Jane Pearce Driver in 1840. After their marriage proved childless, they decided that they would use their great wealth for philanthropic purposes. They built the Holloway Sanatorium at Virginia Water and, under Jane’s influence, they built Holloway College for Women at Egham, now part of the University of London. Neither of them saw the buildings opened. Jane Holloway died in 1875 and Thomas Holloway in 1883. He died of congestion of the lungs. He remained suspicious of doctors to the last. The business continued into the 20th century, finally being bought out by its rival Beecham’s Pills in 1930.

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Written November 2020


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Malton & Norton Heritage Centre
3 Commercial Street
Norton YO17 9HX

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Regrettably we are currently operating an 'appointments only policy' to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. Please contact us via the email link above to arrange an appointment.

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Please Donate

The Woodhams Stone Collection is entirely run by volunteers and is housed in the Malton & Norton Heritage Centre. A donation however small would help towards our running costs and the purchase of archive quality materials required to store and preserve the Collection for future generations. If you should decide to donate via the PayPal button neither you nor Woodhams Stone Collection will be charged a fee for this donation.

At the end of the transaction you will be asked if you wish the payment to be made as part of the GiftAid scheme. If you are a UK taxpayer and able to do this it means that Woodhams Stone Collection can benefit by an additional 25% of your donation.

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Malton & Norton Memories

This group is for those who are interested in life as it used to be in the twin towns of Malton and Norton. It is chiefly a showcase for photos and items from the Woodhams-Stone Collection but you are welcome to post any comments, memories or photos you may have to share.

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